Jeff Teague, the guardian of the Atlanta Hawks, reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Saturday, January, to a referee. 18, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo / John Amis)
ATLANTA – Jeff Teague says he couldn't be happier to be back with his adopted home team.
Teague had hoped to return to his original club as a free agent in his 11th NBA season this summer, but a trade from Minnesota two days ago brought him back to the Atlanta Hawks earlier than expected.
Teague, who is no longer a starter, played Saturday's game against the Detroit Pistons in the middle of the first quarter with a modest standing ovation. He played with Point Guard Trae Young, the NBA's third leading scorer. The Hawks' plan, however, is to use Teague primarily as a primary backup for Young.
"I always wanted to come back," said Teague. "These things just run through your head. I looked at their team, their needs and things like that. I thought they might need me, a backup veteran who can help a little and try to run the guys. I thought that was my role. "
Teague, who ended up 15 points and seven assists in 25 minutes in a loss to Detroit from 136 to 103 in 25 minutes, remained at home in the Atlanta metropolitan area even after being treated by the Hawks, whom he was preparing to prepare their first The Eastern Conference helped final appearance in 2015 to Indiana after the following season.
"They sent me to a place where I really wanted to be at the time," said Teague. "I'm from Indiana. I have a good chance of playing at home. I think my career has enabled me to make a little more money, get a bigger contract, and more. My career has been great. Everything went well. I always am still able to play at a high level. Everything is fine. "
Teague has admired Young's game since he finished fourth overall two years ago.
"He's a star, man," said Teague. “His ability to make recordings and play plays for others. One of the league's goal scorers. He'll be an all-star. I think we all in the team know who he is and I was a fan. "
Teague only started 13 of its 34 games this season when the Timberwolves started a new offensive that did not match his skills. He also returns to a pick-and-roll attack that better fits what he does best – cut off the dribble, hit 3s, draw fouls, and get teammates to do it.
With the Hawks, Teague plays a supporting role for a core of young players, including John Collins, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, and Cam Reddish. Together with Young, they are 22 and younger.
"We're like Trae goes," said trainer Lloyd Pierce. "We are like John. (Teague brings) 6 assists per game, 38% of 3 shoot and he's also a downhill player. He fits exactly with what we do for everyone, and obviously his presence, experience and ability to play great moments are important. "
Young is happy to have Teague on his team.
"A very underestimated point guard," said Teague. "Of course I know a lot about his game."
Teague believes the young core can build something similar to its previous Hawks team. He won 60 games with a cast with Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll.
"This team was just a special group," said Teague. "We all fought for each other, we all liked each other, we all understood each other from the square. It was great. The best team I've ever been on. "
Teague knew there was something going on with Minnesota when he and Treveon Graham were dragged into a team office before the team set off on a road trip.
"You said Atlanta and I said," I can't be so lucky, "Teague said." As if I had to play in Indiana and back in Atlanta? I was happy. I couldn't believe it. The excitement was there, but now everything just hit me.
“I was moved in here. I just grew up. I was 20. I left 28 when I was 28. That’s all I knew. I was from Indiana. The only place I've ever been to was Wake Forest. So Atlanta was all I knew. Then I found out that it is one of the best cities in the world. The people were great, the fans were always great to me, the people in the organization from year one to last were great. I just love it. "
EDITORS & # 39; PICK
Don't miss the latest news and information.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and others over 70 titles. Share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download it at 4:00 a.m. and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.